Monday, 27 June 2011

Too many pharmacies

A row is brewing, or a decision has been "slammed" in Hartlepool Mail Speak, regarding a new pharmacy on Catcote Road. Predictably the owner of the shops criticised the decision, he after all wants tenants in the units and rents coming in. One of the local councillors also critisised the decision, after all that's his job to defend the perceived interests of his residents and getting his picture in the Hartlepool Mail always helps his re-election chances!

However, the decision to refuse the pharmacy was not just some random act of malice against the downtrodden of Rift House. There already is adequate pharmacy coverage in the area according to the NHS Litigation Authority, which received objections by nearby pharmacists who argued there was already sufficient provision in the area.

A local chemist is like any local shop, local pub, local bus service, local library, local anything. A well patronised and PROFITABLE local anything will have businesses cuing up to provide them. A poorly patronised and unprofitable local anything will go out of business. If there is sufficient customers for two business to survive in any area and a third one opens then unless it generates new customers then it can only take them from existing businesses.

Of course some altruistic person, charity or other organisation may be willing to run a business at a loss.Altruistic individuals are few and far between these days. Charities are also no longer in the loss making business. They have of armies of paid staff to support. The most altruistic organisations recently have been local authorities. These are willing to spend any amount of other peoples' money to provide services to their clients. One silver lining of the current credit crunch might just be that local authorities, like Hartlepool, who are proud of being high spending authorities, might just have to start looking at value for money on their spending schemes. However, don't bet on it!

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